860S.00B/7–148: Telegram

The United States Political Adviser ( Joyce ), at Trieste, to the Secretary of State


388. 1. Cominform announcement on Yugoslav Communist Party and Tito and his immediate collaborators1 caused sensation Trieste. There has been much speculation as to what the present international situation in Yugoslavia might presage for Trieste but general feeling in non-Communist and pro-Italian circles is one of jubilation that Tito is in difficulties and there is discord among members of the Soviet bloc.

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2. The two pro-Communist local papers, Il Lavoratore and Primorski Dnevnik at first adopted a cautious line merely publishing the Cominform communiqué. Primorski commented briefly that the criticism of the YCP were made in a “brotherly, frank and open-handed manner” and no doubt “mistakes will be remedied to the advantage of the united and granite-like anti-imperialist front of all the working people of the world.” Il Lavoratore adopted similar line stating that “frank criticism and selfish [self?] criticism represent fundamental element of strength” and every act of self-criticism represents a reinforcement of the movement and a step forward. “The present situation will undoubtedly be overcome and result in a strengthening of the European and the world Communist movements”. Il Lavoratore added that Trieste Communists will continue to fight “for peace for respect of international obligations, against imperialism and against the local and international reaction and that the large popular democratic masses will continue to fight side by side with the Communists.

Il Lavoratore last night published text of communiqué of YCP Central Committee announcement. It also significantly reprints article in Unita by Pietro Secchia entitled “Soviet Union, the Directing Force.” Leading Il Lavoratore article states it is to be regretted that all this has happened but that it demonstrates the “righteousness, strength and clarity of the Communists, their revolutionary vigilance and criticism within the party itself.” The article adds that present situation will mean strengthening of world front “led by the Soviet Union” and that “closely united Italian and Slav Communists in Trieste recognize only one ideology, i.e., that which was chosen and followed by Marx and Engels, Lenin and Stalin.”

3. Pro-Italian papers Giornale Di Trieste and La Voce Libera gloat over what they consider to be the fall of Tito. Voce Libera speculates that Moscow may have decided to call off the cold war and Tito was a major obstacle. Tito’s defenestration might pave the way for a solution of the Trieste problem in accordance with the proposal made by the western powers. Voce Libera adds that under Tito, Yugoslavia has recently been calling up military classes, which might indicate an intention to stage a coup de main directed against Greece or Trieste but that this would risk a world war for which Russia is not prepared. Moscow therefore decided to remove Tito as a dangerous fuse. Giornale Di Trieste last night points out that events in Yugoslavia might mean a clear break between Slav and Italian Communists and points out that the Italian Communists have lined up with the Cominform whereas the local Slav Communists are deeply committed to Tito and might declare for him. Voce Libera inquires whether local Slav Communist leader Babic will choose the Marx-Lenin-Stalin line of [or?] [Page 530] the “imperialist-chauvinist Tito” and remarks that in local shipyard pictures of Tito being removed. Voce Libera states that both in Yugoslavia and in Trieste Communist Party was a tool in the hands of Yugoslav chauvinists against whom the Cominform now invites rebellion.

4. In local Communist circles it may be Vittorio Vidali, former fighter in Spain and Comintern agent in Mexico and regarded as informant and trouble shooter for Kremlin, might supplant Communist leaders Babic and Ursic. Vidali is an Italian from small town near Trieste and is undoubtedly popular with the workers.2

Sent Dept. 388, repeated Rome 149, London 44, Paris 57, pouched Belgrade.

  1. For documentation on the split between Marshal Tito and Soviet Russia see vol. iv, pp. 1054 ff.
  2. In telegram 417 of July 14, not printed, Joyce reported that the Cominform-Tito issue was splitting the local Communist Party wide open, with Babic leading the pro-Yugoslav group and Vidali the pro-Moscow element (860S.00B/7–1448).